Sabitra Bhandari's hat trick propels Nepal into final of women's football in SAG; to meet India in title showdown
POKHARA: Nepal's prolific striker Sabitra Bhandari scored a hat trick against the Maldives securing a title showdown against India at the ongoing 13th South Asian Games in Pokhara.
Striker Bhandari 'Samba' opened her and team's account after thumping a header into the top corner off Nita Basnet's cross in the 16th minute of the first half at the full house Pokhara Stadium today.
Playing in the presence of home supporters, Nepal dominated the proceeding from the word go. Striker Bhandari scored her brace and team's second in the 20th minute of the game.
Despite dominating the game throughout, Nepal failed to convert their glitch edge goal-scoring chances against the tired-looking opponents and had to wait until the added minutes of the second half to score a third to secure a comfortable 3-0 victory.
FIFA referee pointed to the spot-kick after Nepal's striker Bhandari was fouled inside the D-box area. Bhandari herself stepped up to take the penalty kick and coolly dispatched into the bottom corner to score her first hat trick of the tournament.
During the post-match presentation, Maldives coach Ahamed Nasid said, "Our girls played well today despite bearing in mind the fact that Nepal were a better side."
Nepal's head coach Hari Khadka said, "We really played well in the first half but could not perform to our capability in the latter half."
Nepal and India both have secured six points and have already qualified for the finals scheduled for Saturday. The two teams will face each other in the group fixture on Friday at the Pokhara Stadium.